[FoRK] Re: nb: politics ~= religion

Ian Andrew Bell fork at ianbell.com
Sat Feb 14 11:51:44 PST 2004


On 13-Feb-04, at 11:11 AM, jbone at place.org wrote:

> Why don't we, then, also match tax money flowing to PBS / NPR 
> dollar-for-dollar with contributions to Fox News and radio's Westwood 
> One?

Because the interests of those world views (and thus the messages they 
convey) are driven by commerce, and are self-supported as such.  
Although I'd beg to differ, one can argue that the voices of NPR and 
PBS are marginal and need to be supported since their audiences are 
smaller.  The reality is that America, inc. will not support voices 
which dissent against the party line... Advertisers and many companies 
won't support PBS and NPR because they are critical of the capitalist 
ethic.

Rightly or wrongly, criticism is good -- from both sides.

And besides, only 18.3% of PBS's revenue comes from "tax dollars", that 
was $292M in 2003.   Not all of it is in the form of straight handouts, 
either... it's in paid programming to support state educational 
objectives such as Children's Television, etc.  Jesus, that's a 
rounding error on a Halliburton invoice.

In the UK nearly 100% of BBC's funding comes from the taxpayer, and in 
Canada more like 20-25% comes from the taxpayer.  And despite this, the 
CBC and BBC seem to show no bias toward government, operating 
effectively at arm's length.  All in all, it's pretty easy to see that 
we have better, more qualitative, more investigative news outlets than 
the mainstream US channels.

Watching FOX News most of the programming during the prime real-estate 
on the schedule is editorial, virtually none of it is investigative -- 
most of the "News" programming appears to be re-hashed Reuters feeds 
and White House press conferences.  Is this a News station or Rupert 
Murdoch's Opinion Channel?

-Ian.


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